Holidays

SrdjanPav/E+/Getty Images

Here Are 5 Easy Ways To Donate Toys For The Holidays This Year

Because the need has never been greater.

With COVID cases rising and unemployment still plaguing the country, for some, this year’s holiday season is looking grim. Many parents are struggling to figure out how to put food on the table and presents under the tree. Under "regular" circumstances, people wanting to help would seek out toy drive bins or Angel Trees as ways to donate gifts, but with close contact still strongly discouraged, many of the more familiar ways to contribute aren’t feasible this year. So organizations are getting creative. Such is the case with these 5 ways to donate toys this year.

In the same way businesses have evolved to meet social distancing protocols by shifting sales online or offering curbside pick-up, so too have these organizations all with the goal of collecting toys for needy children. Each campaign is different, but all are utilizing the internet to fulfill their mission. And, from the nonprofit representatives Romper spoke with, all of these organizations are bound and determined to make as many children’s Christmases a little bit brighter. “For the past several years, we’ve served 7 million kids with about 18 million toys,” says Kelley Hardison Deputy, VP, Marketing & Development for Toys for Tots. “We anticipate the need being much greater this year.”

1
Toys For Tots’ Virtual Toy Box
Andy Cross/Denver Post/Getty Images

“Demand has greatly intensified this year,” says the aforementioned Hardison of Toys for Tots. Because of that the organization run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve has shifted its national campaign to online. “We have a virtual toy drive,” says Hardison. Toys for Tots has enabled people to purchase toys for a specific location and donate to its virtual toy box. That said, local campaigns are committed to continuing and if you’d like to see if there’s one in your area, you can locate local efforts with the Toys for Tots map where you can search by city and county.

2
Operation Shoe Box’s Curbside Drop-off
Shutterstock

For 27 years Samaritan’s Purse has collected shoe boxes full of small toys and hygiene items for children around the world serving 178 million children in more than 150 countries according to the nonprofit’s website. And that mission continues this year thanks to the nonprofit’s curbside drop-off plan. “Volunteers are preparing to collect shoebox gifts during National Collection Week, Nov. 16 ­– 23, at more than 4,000 locations across the U.S. Each location will now offer a curbside drop-off option,” says Lucas Zellers, the organizations Media Relations Coordinator in an email to Romper. For more information on how Operation Christmas Child is making adjustments during its National Collection Week, readers can visit the organization’s Important COVID-19 Updates webpage for the latest information and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

3
Keep Helping Make-A-Wish
Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

For organizations like Make A Wish foundation, with 59 chapters nationwide, each has their own holiday plans. That said, in order to continue to give back while social distancing, the gift-giving nonprofit that surprises sick children with grand wishes has launched Families For Wishes. The campaign is asking communities of families, friends and more to create their own unique Families For Wishes fundraising page to raise funds to help grant life-changing wishes which can include the popular holiday wish of a shopping spree. While this is a monetary campaign, funds raised will be translated into the purchasing of toys and other most-wished for items.

4
Surprise A Sick Child at St. Jude's Hospital with a Toy
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

This year has been hard enough, but imagine the heartbreak of a family heading into the holidays with a sick child. St. Jude's Hospital treats 8,600 such kids each year, according to its website. For a child with a serious illness, a toy could bring a little sunshine on a tough day. That's why St. Jude's has an online holiday gift drive. The hospital's Child Life Program and Housing Department provides the St. Jude Holiday Shop for patient families and caregivers who are staying on campus during the holiday season. Those who want to donate can use the Amazon Wish List to help out. St. Jude's also accepts toys by mail but they can't accept: stuffed animals, handmade items, food, candy, cloth baby dolls, porcelain dolls, bubble mixtures, or any ride-on toys or used items.

5
Shelters Need Toys Too
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

On a local level, shelters across the country are still housing homeless people in the midst of pandemic and you might be surprised how many residents are children: 2.5 million children according to the National Center of Family Homelessness. That comes out to 1 in every 30 children. To make sure these kids get a little bit of holiday joy, you can use the Homeless Shelter Directory to find a shelter in your area where you can donate.

Whether it's $5 or $500 you're looking to give this year, any amount will make an impact in a child's life and could be the difference between finding something and nothing under the tree this year.